The Clean Hippie

Seeking the sustainable life in New York City

Looking for Some Yum Organic Food in NYC? July 31, 2010

I’m an avid user and reviewer of Yelp, so I decided to highlight some of my reviews of organic, local, and sustainable eats in NYC and Brooklyn. This is by no means comprehensive though! On my to-do list:  The Good Fork, ABC Restaurant, Xoom, and so. many. others. Good sustainable food is everywhere, you just need to know where to look!

Bobo

West Village

7/31/10

As a huge local food fan, I’m always excited to hear about a restaurant with a relationship with the farmers. You won’t see a Cisco food truck outside of this place. Every dish is lovingly crafted from artisinal cheeses, locally-grown produce, and delicious humanly raised meats. It makes it all the better than the owner, Carlos Suarez, quit finance (“a lack of values” he said) to open this restaurant.

We arrived just a few minutes later for our 7:45 reservation, and an older gentleman led us up the painted wood stairs lined with flickering candles to a romantic dining room. The handcrafted quality of the restaurant shines through even in the decor. Fashioned from what was obviously a townhouse at some point, the dining room is romantically lit, with bookshelves stocked with old tomes, heavy draperies, and candles everywhere.

We hit a hiccup when our waiter forgot to provide us with a wine list, but he apologized when he realized 10 minutes later and was quickly back to take our order of an artisinal and biodynamic malbec. There was also a short list of cocktails, bottled and draft beers, and aperitifs. I hardly noticed the less than stellar service because he was so friendly, and even made me laugh a few times.

We provided the waiter with a coupon from Blackboard eats, and received in return a plate of fig leaf wraps with brown rice and a sweet sauce, and three “shooters” of pepper and zucchini infused non-alcoholic drink. They have a long list of canapes that comes in singles for about $3 a piece, so you can mix and match.

The star of the night was the duck breast with chorizo that my boyfriend ordered – it was an eyes-rolling-back-my-head moment. My brook trout wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, unfortunately. And at one point I had to pull a small bone out of my mouth. Yuck.

However, you must order something from the dessert menu. We had a trio of ice cream sandwich sliders: gingerbread-oatmeal-raisin cookies with a mildly fruity ice cream, chocolate with what I think was a cookies and cream ice cream, and and a classic chocolate chip ice cream sandwich. We made a huge mess, but since they put down paper on the tables instead of white cloth, I didn’t feel so bad.

As we left we noticed that the downstairs bar was booming. And it looks like you can order some food at the stand up tables by the window as well.

A word on the prices – they are very reasonable. I was suprised that the bill wasn’t more, given that we ordered so much, and the quality of the restaurant. Add in the fact that all ingredients are local and organic, well it’s practically a steal. I’m not saying it’s cheap, but the value is definitely there.

All in all I would definitely come back here, but it hasn’t quite made my list of favorites.

The Farm on Adderley

Neighborhood: Flatbush

7/28/2010

Oh man does my boyfriend know me well. I’m a huge local/organic/sustainable food buff, and at his suggestion we came to The Farm on Adderly for a casual after work dinner.

We ate inside, since there was a short wait for the garden out back. The tables are well spaced so you aren’t elbowing your neighbor, and the whole space has a cozy feel.

When the waiter (friendly, knowledgeable, and prompt) described their steak special of the night, I wondered to myself if the meat was grass-fed or local. Imagine my delight when I spied the footnote on the menu: “All the meat on the menu has been sourced locally, is pasture-raised and humanely cared for.” Score!

The menu itself is short and sweet, with an assortment of cheeses, not more than five salads, and some entrees. But the beer and wine menu looked extensive. We ordered cocktails – he got the cucumber lemonade and I ordered the grapefruit Blue Ridge Parkway (a reference to a scenic drive through the Appalachians.)

For non-alcoholic beverages, they had some interesting choices, including Fentiman’s Brewed Cola, Zico Coconut Water, Fever Tree Tonic, and even homemade kombucha.  This place is a hippie paradise. At the bottom, as if they are ashamed to admit it, there is diet coke too.

I ordered the special, which was… hmmm… what did they call it… a crepette I think? It was a meat dish with tripe. The waiter was nice enough to warn me about the tripe, but really, you can’t even tell it’s there. It wasn’t the best meat dish I’ve ever had, but it wasn’t bad either, and was very filling.

My bf ordered the butcher’s meatballs, which he reported being quite satisfied with. We took a glance at the dessert menu, just to see what was on there. Mistake. I had to shove it away so I wouldn’t be tempted by all the delicious confections on there, including banana chocolate upside down cake. Another time, for sure.

Bonus, go a few doors down to Sycamore for a follow-up drink in their garden. It’s equally enjoyable.

Community Food & Juice

Neighborhood: Morningside Heights

7/26/2010

I had heard such wonderful things about this place, and after coming here both for dinner and brunch, I’ve gotten a 360 view.

They have a wonderful selection of organic and local beers to start off with. I didn’t try the cocktails, but they were tempting, to say the least. In fact, they have a lot of local and sustainable fair on the menu, which is always very nice.

I had a delicious salmon and fried potato salad over a bed of parsley, which just blew my mind. I’m not a huge salad person, but I left feeling very full.

I came here a few days later for brunch. We managed to snag a table in the shade outside (the wait for an indoor table looked long) but not all tables are shaded, so watch out on a hot summer day.

We saw several B.E.L.T.s walk by (bacon lettuce tomato and egg on sourdough, yum!)  But I opted for a more traditional house-made apple sausage and eggs with carrot hashbrowns. Filling and delicious. My friend had the blueberry pancakes, which came with a syrup that tasted like brown sugar and butter. So decadent, and so good!

The service was great both times. The waiters quickly came by, and so did our food. I will be eating here whenever I get the chance!

Tangled Vine

Neighborhood: Upper West Side

6/18/2010

My friend and I were lured here by the promise of organic and biodynamic wines. The menu was full of organic wines by the glass as promised, but I had a hard time ferreting out a biodynamic wine. Too bad. If you are looking for an extensive wine list, you’ve got it here. It goes on for pages and pages.

I know this might not matter, but I noticed the menus are cheap photo albums with printed paper slid into the plastic pockets. Small things like that really factor into my experience. That, along with the unfinished awning out front, gave me the feeling that they weren’t quite finished putting the place together.

The food (all meant to be shared) was delicious, and the service good. We ordered the organic veal meatballs and asparagus and peas risotto. I could have licked the plate!

My one big complaint was the tight space. It was a crowded Thursday night, so we sat at a high communal table with five others. In order to leave, everyone on one side of the table had to climb down from their stool to let the person pass.

It was super loud in there, but my friend and I had to strike a careful balance between speaking loud enough to here each other, and not offending our neighbors, who we knocked elbows with the whole meal.

I’ll probably go back for a casual glass of wine and some plates with a friend since it’s in my ‘hood, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for a romantic date, and I wouldn’t go out of my way for it.

The Castello Plan

Neighborhood: Flatbush

6/14/2010

I am so happy this is right around the corner from my boyfriend’s place, because we both agree we’ll be going back soon!When the sommelier came over, he inquired after my preferences, and then went to get three bottles and three glasses. “I think I’ll taste some with you,” he told us.

Each glass he would give an abbreviated, broad description, (“full, fruity, bold) which was nice because it’s a proven scientific fact that you cannot detect five different notes in every wine, no matter how romantic it sounds. Then while my boyfriend and I followed protocol (swirl, smell, taste) he would knock it back like a frat boy taking a shot. We suspected he might be drunk, or maybe he didn’t even work there and was just hanging out. Doesn’t matter because we were super happy with the wine he helped us choose. He also pointed at the Brooklyn borough president who was schmoozing at a nearby table.

When our friends joined us, we ordered two appetizer plates, and an assortment of cheeses and prosciutto. The wooden platter of prosciutto and cheeses was amazing, but the duck really took the award for the night. I’ve never had such a sumptuous mouth-feel before. We tasted our friends’ sweet potato dish, it was hard to refrain from stealing their plate and eating the rest! Dessert was amazing too: bite-sized chocolate tulips. I would give you a fuller description, but by this point my faculties were severely impaired.

I also liked their presentation: vintage-looking silver and raw cut wood platters. We all had such a great time, I couldn’t imagine a nicer night.

Juice Generation

Neighborhood: Upper West Side

5/28/2010

As far as smoothie places go, this is the best.My reasons? Voila:

1. They use fresh, local-when-possible, organic ingredients.

2. They have delicious smoothies with ingredients like acai, goji berry, ginger, or just your regular strawberries and banana, plus boosters.

3. They use recycled plastic cups that – unlike Jamba Juice’s – don’t leach chemicals into your yummy smoothie.

4. Their sandwiches are fresh-made, and delicious, especially when grilled and cheesy-melty.

5. If you need a snack, they have crazy healthy raw food bars, trail mix, and protein muffins.

6. The people who work there are always friendly and helpful. They deserve all the tips they get and more!

7. In the winter, you can get a hot drink like their cold-busting ginger and orange juice drink. Peps you right up.

8. Everything always looks hyper-sterilized and organized.

This place costs me seven extra blocks of walking before work, but it’s totally worth it. I love starting my day with a smoothie or (if I’m hungover) a muffin.

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Blue Marble: Organic, local, grass-fed deliciousness June 10, 2010

organic, grass-fed, Hudson valley dairy ice cream from Blue Marble

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”

That’s what my Nana would say every time I crawled into the front seat of the Buick between her and Papa, and we all set off for the only ice cream shop in Sanford. At the time I thought vanilla, mint chocolate chip, and rocky road were the pinnacle of deliciousness.

Well, we learn a lot as we grow older, don’t we?

Saturday Mike and I did the Atlantic Avenue art walk in Brooklyn. Most of the artists were pretty meh except the talented Donato Giancola, (I bought this print)  but it wasn’t a total bust. We played bocce ball at Floyd’s (I recommend!) and also popped into Blue Marble Ice Cream for  a cold treat.

I fell head over heels for this place, and here’s why:

chocolate, raspberry, butter pecan, culture, and cinnamon are some of the sweet treats at Blue Marble Ice CreamAmazing flavors: Drunk rum raisin, hazelnut, cultured (a yogurt flavor), dreamcicle, peach sorbet, blackberry, butter pecan, and a whole bunch others made me seriously consider asking for three scoops piled in a waffle cone. Mike laughed as I switched from flavor to flavor at least five times while we waited in line. Luckily I came to my senses and just went for the sweet cream, which is so simple yet so. friggin. delicious. This post by Chowhound says they have the best strawberry ice cream ever introduced to man, and the commenters are inclined to agree.

Simple yet perfect toppings: Forget crumbled oreos, Blue Marble goes old school with maple syrup and even balsamic vinaigrette for your strawberry or raspberry ice cream. I was disappointed to learn I couldn’t get local chocolate shop Nunu‘s hot caramel or hot fudge on top of my cone. Probably a good call since no one wants hot caramel dripping all over their hands, so next time I’ll get a cup so I can experience it. Or maybe I’ll get the strawberry with balsamic vinaigrette? Ooooh, or the honey! I don’t knoooooow!

High quality ingredients: Organic? Check. Grass-fed, happy cows? Check.We make our ice cream on a Hudson Valley Farm with premium, grassfed, organic dairy. Local? Check. Artificial colors and flavors? Nope! How could you make this ice cream any better?

Consciously consuming: Until everyone carries around a lunchbox of utensils and dishes, we’ll have to accept that some containers will be bought only to be thrown away after we are done. While we wait for mini picnic pouches to come into style, you can’t get much more responsible than Blue Marble’s compostable, recyclable, and biodegradable supplies, plus three bins in which to place them when you’re done. Nice!

The perfect setting: While you restrain yourself from attempting to shove the entire scoop of ice cream into your mouth in a fit of ecstasy, you’ll enjoy your green surroundings. Salvaged materials, white non-toxic paint on the wooden beams, recycled glass counters, and vintage-y looking touches lend the shop a homey feel, instead of the usual antiseptic linoleum floors and plastic tables at other ice cream shops.

I can’t believe you are still sitting there reading this! Go get some ice cream!

GO!

 

A Healthy Addiction: Juice Generation November 16, 2009

Filed under: Food,Places to go — Alden @ 2:30 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

105th-st-photo

Yes. I have an addiction. It’s an addiction that makes me walk seven blocks out of my way almost every day. I dream of that sweet (but not too sweet!) fruity flavor of crushed ice, mixed with goji berry, acai, coconut, or organic soy milk. I’m like a devotee to Starbucks who gets the shakes after a day of no tall non-fat lattes from Starbucks, even if I make one for myself at home. But this is better. (Worse?)

In fact, I just walked all the way down there for the express purpose of getting a smoothie. I was devastated to find the lights off and door locked. Missed it by five minutes! I made my own smoothie to make up for it, but it’s just not the same…

It’s called Juice Generation. It’s on 104th and Broadway, with other NYC locations at 72nd and Columbus, 9th Ave and 45th, and 7th Ave and 4th Street.  If the guys who work there don’t know my name by now, they certainly know my face. I tend to stop in after yoga, after a workout at the gym, for breakfast, for lunch, for an afternoon snack…really, any route that takes me past that spot will inevitably find me eagerly scanning the menu.

But I’m not ashamed. That’s because many of their ingredients are organic, and Juice Generation sources their apples, wheatgrass and dairy products from local farms. (Can’t say the same for mangosteen, but really? Let’s not be unreasonable.) Also, unlike many smoothie places, they don’t add sugary syrup, just agave nectar.

If I’m feeling a bit too peckish for just 350 calories of the Antioxidant All-star, I’ll grab a Raw Bar or similarly healthy crunchy something to go with it. Perfect!